Cyprus seeks EU action against ‘illegal’ Turkish plans for ghost town

Cyprus will hold talks with top European Union officials in the coming days to protest Turkish moves to seize control of a ghost town in the north of the country.

Turkey’s plans to de-facto acquire Varosha, a fenced off area of Farmagusta, are extraordinarily provocative and illegal, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades will tell the EU, according to Greek Reporter.

Turkey has controlled the Turkish Cypriot north of Cyprus since 1974, when it invaded in response to a brief Greek Cypriot coup supported by the then-military government in Athens. It keeps more than 30,000 soldiers on the island.

Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay and Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül held a round table meeting with a major Turkish law association in Varosha last Saturday, fermenting Greek Cypriot anger. Turkey has announced plans to open Varosha to tourism for the first time since the island’s division.  

Oktay said Varosha belonged to the Turkish Cypriot government and led a walkabout in the town’s deserted streets.

In October last year, the United Nations Security Council warned against any action that would change the status quo of the uninhabited no-man’s-land, Greek reporter said.

The UN Security Council, in a resolution in 1984, said Varosha could only be populated by the original inhabitants of the Republic of Cyprus and called for the transfer of the area to a UN administration, the news website said.